Sometimes, I want to say to myself: “Self, it's time to grow up.”
Self, it's time to stop wadding the fitted sheets into a giant ball, shoving them in the unorganized linen cabinet, and hoping that *God forbid* a guest ever opens that door.
Self, it's time to stop neglecting pairing socks together when your folding clothes and instead just hiding all the random, lone-socks in Stuart's drawer.
Self, it's time to stop having a spice cabinet that looks like a paprika bomb was set off amongst a maple syrup festival that was taking place in a college dorm room.
Seriously. It's bad. I'm not even going to show you the before pictures because a) I didn't take any and b) even if I had, I wouldn't have the guts to show them to you because I literally had olive oil dripping down the side of my cabinet with pieces of dried rosemary stuck in it, alongside a nice ring of molasses.
(Hangs unorganized head in shame).
But that's enough focusing on the bad – don't you think? Most of you have been around here for long enough to know that eventually, even if it takes a few days…er….years, I WILL get my projects done. The spice cabinet? Well. That's one for the record book.
Because I buy my spices in bulk and they often come in plastic bags, I needed to come up with a system that would work for different amounts of spice. For example, right now, I have an entire pound of dried rosemary. I also have about two ounces of Garam Marsala. Big difference. There was no “one-size-fits-all” container that was going to work for this job.
Inspiration really hit home when my Mom let me borrow her label maker.
**This is where the heavens open and angels start singing Hallelujah and sending down rays of sunshine and butterflies**
Once I had that label maker in hand, there was no stopping me.
How To Organize A Spice Cabinet
(so you don't look like a total, unorganized goob)
Step One: Remove all the spices from your cabinet. Wipe the shelves down with a clean rag and some citrus vinegar or something. Time to remove all that skanky buildup (don't act like your shelves ain't got it).
Step Two: Remove all of the old/nasty/gross/flavorless spices and discard. If you haven't used it, GET RID OF IT! Ain't no need to take up valuable shelf space.
Step Three: Consolidate the remaining spices into separate jars, according to the amount of each spice you have. For example, I had a few different loose bags of thyme. I consolidated all of the thyme into a large jar and discarded all of the old packaging.
Step Four: Label each jar with it's contents. Even if you think you don't “need to”, I seriously recommend this step. Because as soon as you don't, you'll totally forget, and then you'll have to open three jars to smell them and figure out which is which. And sometimes even the smells can get confusing! I particularly liked this step because it made me feel like Martha Stewart or something. Plus, this way when Stuart cooks, he won't have to ask me six times where something is.
Step Five: Organize according to use.
I have a “baking” or “sweet” shelf, if you will:
On this shelf, I've included such spices as nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, star anise, baking powder, cacoa powder, rapadura, etc. If I need it for baking, say, sweet carrot muffins, it'll be there.
I also have a “cooking” or “savory” shelf:
This includes all the rest of my herbs and spices, such as: Garam Marsala, curry powder, rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, salt, pepper, sweet paprika, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves. There are more but you get the idea. Right? Shall I go on?
Saffron, fenugreek seeds, dried mustard.
Okay. Seriously. You get the idea.
Lastly, I have a third shelf for all of our loose leaf teas and a few other herbs:
We almost exclusively drink loose leaf and the Mason jars are a great way to keep them all accounted for, especially since some of them are extremely difficult to tell apart. In this cabinet, I keep dandelion, alfalfa, raspberry leaf, nettle (all for Mother's Milk tea!), Earl Grey, green tea, rosehips, and a few more odds and ends.
It's amazing the sense of accomplishment I had once this project was finished. Why, oh why, did I put it off for so long? Why, oh why, do I not own at least eight label makers? Why, oh why, do I still wad my fitted sheets and shove them in the closet?
Guess I still need to work on that last one.
For other great meal ideas, no matter what your dietary restrictions, check out the meal planning service I use: Real Plans.